A Happy New Year to you, dear children! May it be the brightest and the best you have yet had! There are many reasons why you should, day by day, be as bright and happy as sunbeams. Think of some of these reasons. I will tell you of one of them. Is it not a happy think to feel that though you are so young the world is already the better for your being in it? It is a good thing to live for Jesus, and to help on His blessed work. And this is what many of you are doing. In helping the Mission-work of your Church you are doing work for Christ, and any ray of light you cause to shine on this world's darkness is a gain. Think of this, dear children, and be glad.
But I want to ask you an odd sort of question, and to tell you a funny little story. The question is this: Do you ever grumble? Well, I hope not, as it is not at all a nice thing for either girls or boys to do. And not at all a nice thing for a Missionary to do either. And yet a short time ago I did grumble, and that very much. And what do you think it was about? You will not guess, so I will tell you. It was your little Green Book. When I saw the beautiful GLEANER for older people, I said the children ought to have one just as good. And this is my little story. One day I was grumbling about that little book as before, when a kind-hearted friend of little children said to me, "I am so glad to hear you grumble, because the Green Book is to be made all you wish." I don't know whether my face changed or not, but I felt my heart give a great thump of joy, because I knew how glad all young boys and girls would be who are trying to help on Mission-work.
 Now, Editor, let me ask you to fill the little book with nice pictures for all. Make it as good as "Chatterbox," "Little Folks," or any other child's book is. Nay, make it the best of them all. Give the children, in your own loving way, full accounts of little black boys and girls who are still in heathen darkness, and also of those who have been brought to the light of the Gospel. Tell them also of the little ones in China, India, and Japan, of what they say and do, and how they are taught. And, be sure you do not forget to tell them about the little Red Indians and Eskimos, who live far away in the snow, and how God is causing many of their hearts to be brought and warm with the sunshine of His love. And it would be nice if you could tell the children of one town here in England, what the children in other towns are doing in the Mission cause; the little book would then belong to all the children's associations in the country. But I see you are doing all this. And here is a nice picture, the best of N.-W. I have seen--a Missionary going to tell the poor Indians of Jesus. Well, dear children, I can't tell you fully of this now, as I have said all I can say this month; the best thing would be for one of you to go with me, as a deputation from all the schools, to visit a station in N.-W. America, and then tell your companions what you saw there. Agreed! one shall go, and we will make the journey together next month. For the present good-bye. Begin the year afresh with God. Be holy and you will be happy. Pray more for yourselves, and for the heathen. Live near to Jesus, and ask him to make you His own dear children. For this, too, I will pray.
W. W. K.
 HOW are you, dear children? I hope that thus far the new year has been to you a very happy one. We prayed that it might be so, and God is very good, and loves to answer prayer.
At the close of the little bit I wrote to you last month, I asked for one of you to take a trip with me to one of our Indian stations, that you might tell all the other children what you saw there. But here comes a difficulty. We are in dear old England, and not at York Fort, where our journey must begin. The only thing that we can do, therefore, is to shut our eyes for a little, and open them again on the other side of Hudson's Bay. Here we are at York. What an odd-looking place it is! and yet it is neat and nice. It looks like a tiny town, or the model of a town; it has three streets, with five or six houses in each. What is that large square building, with those rows of windows in it? That is the Factory, where the goods are kept and repacked for going inland. Let us go round the end of it. Do you see that sort of tower with a bell at the top? That belongs to the Fort, and the bell rings in the morning for [15/16] all to go to work, at meal-times, and at night. That large grey-looking house belongs to the gentleman in charge of the Fort. Here is the Mission-house, becoming very crooked without, but still comfortable within; and there stands the dear little church, in which many happy services are held.
But we must not stay longer at York, as we have to visit Churchill, 175 miles away; and as our men and dogs are waiting, we must get ready as fast as we can. All my clothes are ready, as I have made the journey often before; but I must look well to yours, or you will be frozen, for it is very cold. Now put off your English boots, and put on these warm duffle socks and soft moccasins, or you will not be able to walk in snow-shoes; then you must put on this nice capote, fur cap, and warm mittens, or Jack Frost will soon play tricks with you. And here are your snow-shoes; be sure not to forget them, or you will have great trouble. You can't walk all the way, so I shall have the cariole for you; sometimes we may both of us take a ride in it; but any way, you must have your snow-shoes, or you will not be able to walk at all. Then we shall have a sledge also to carry our food, blankets, hatchets, and fish for the dogs. Here they are. We have four dogs in each train. What nice dogs they are, and how they want to be off. We shall learn their names, perhaps, by-and-by; and look at the drivers, what nice warm coats they have on! and look at their nice beaded leggings and caps. They are good men, and will take great care of you. Now get into the cariole, and let me wrap you up in the nice warm buffalo robe put in for you: there, put your snow-shoes by your side, that you may be able to reach them whenever you wish to run. One of the men will go on first, so I shall drive the cariole, and when tired ride on the board behind; the other man will drive the sledge. Are you ready? Now then, a crack of the whip, good-bye to our dear friends, and away we go; the dogs gallop at first, because the track is hard near the Fort, but they will go slower just now. How strange the snow looks, not like the soft wet snow of England, but so white, dry, and crisp. It seems like walking over pounded white sugar. There, did you see those white birds fly up? They are called ptarmigan, and were sleeping in a hole in the snow when we disturbed them; they are very pretty but very stupid birds. Look at that band, they have lighted in those trees there, and if an Indian comes past with his gun, he will probably shoot all of them; for, if he kills only one or two at a shot, the others will stretch out their necks to look about, and appear very much surprised, but will remain on the trees until all are killed. But we have come nearly five miles, and we are now nearly close to North River, and so wide is it down here near its mouth, that we can only just see the woods on the other side. But you had better not look out any more, as I am afraid of your face being frozen. Cover up your head with the robe, and lie quite still. There are many pieces of bare ice on the frozen river, and over these the dogs will run briskly.
There, we are over the river at last; it has taken us three hours to cross, and I am sure you will be glad to get out of the cariole for a little while. We have still a few miles to go before any nice woods can be reached, so you had better run that distance. We will stop the dogs for you to get out and put on your snow-shoes.
W. W. KIRKBY.
 THE guide is going on, you see; the sledge is coming up to us. It is heaver than the cariole, so that the dogs cannot get on quite so fast with it. The cold air is making us all very hungry, and as soon as we reach the woods we must have dinner. I daresay you are looking about for a house, but there is none there, nor even a tent, so that we shall have an odd sort of dining-room. But as we shall think more about the dinner than the dining-room, we shall not mind it. I am glad to see you getting along so well in your snow-shoes. You have not had a fall yet, and that is a great thing: the first time I put them on I fell ever so many times--that is a good many years ago now. It is very cold, but you are warmer than you were, for your face is all covered with rime. You do look so odd, but I daresay that I do the same. But see, the guide has stopped. He means us to have dinner here. He has set his gun down in the snow, and is looking about for a good place. That will be hard to find, I fancy; but he does not think so, and he knows best. That place will do, he says, because there is hardly any snow there. But how open and bare it is! He will make that all right. We must wait now for the sledge to come up. Here it is. Open the wrapper and take out [27/28] the axes to cut some wood. Perhaps it will be better if we let the men cut it, and we carry it to the place. There, now we have a good blazing fire, and we can warm ourselves nicely. The guide and Joseph have stuck some boughs on the windward side, and put a buffalo robe over them for a screen, which makes a nice shelter. They have also put another robe for us to sit upon. Now they will cook dinner for us. How careful they are to have all the things clean. But what shall we do for water; as there is no river or well anywhere near? Ah, the men know all about that; did you not see Joseph clean out the frying-pan and tin kettle? Yes. Now he is filling them with snow to melt, and as the water is formed he will go on adding snow until the kettle is full. There is nothing so nice as a good cup of tea on a trip like this. Open that bag, and take out the meat. It is all frozen as solid as a piece of wood. Yes, we must chop a piece off with the hatchet, and put it into the pot to boil. The men will like pemmican, and that they will cook in the frying-pan. It is all ready now; take off your cap while we ask God to bless the food He has given us to eat. We must never forget this, you know. Sit as close to the fire as you can, or your dinner will be frozen before you can eat. Would you like some milk in your tea? If so, open that brown-paper parcel; there is some tied up in it. The dear one at home thought you would like a little, and so tied it up thus. You see it is as white as loaf sugar, and much more solid. Chop a bit off with the hatchet, and put it in your cup. I am glad to sec you enjoying your dinner so much.
The men are ready, so we must be on the move again. Let us thank God for what we have had, and then put all the things on the sledge, and tie up the wrapper to keep them safe. The dogs have had a little nap, and would like to sleep longer, I daresay, but they must not do that now. Old Carlo is watching everything, and knows well what it all means. He is always ready to go. The guide has taken his gun and gone on, so get into the cariole, and let me wrap you up well before we start. We have a long distance to go before night. There is no path nor track of any kind, but the guide will not miss his way. On he will go, over plains, lakes, and swamps, without any fear of going wrong. He looks well on before him, and seldom or ever makes a mistake. What an odd crunching sound the cariole makes, but how easily it runs along where the snow is hard! On and on we go. How long the day appears! But the first one from home always does do so. The sun is getting low, and before it sets we shall stop. You had better run a little now again. See, the guide is looking about carefully for something. Don't be afraid; there are no bears, wolves, or robbers there. He is looking for a place for the camp. The dogs know well enough what he is doing. See how they want to get on. Their ears are all pointed forward, and their fine bushy tails are curled up over their backs. The guide is looking for a spot where green trees and dry trees are standing together, as we shall need them both for our camp. He has put down his gun, which he always carries, so we know that he has chosen a place. Now we must take off our snow-shoes, and using them as shovels, clear out a hole in the snow about eight feet square. There, that has been a hard job, but whilst we have been doing it the men have cut lots of wood.
 THE outer branches of the pine-tree will form a carpet for us. We must also line the three sides of the hole with it, to prevent the fire from melting the snow. Now we must pile up the logs of dry wood close to the other side. But they are too heavy for us, so we had better let the men carry them. There, now we have a good roaring fire. Isn't it nice? And how glad the dogs are to be out of their harness again! See how they roll about in the snow, and eat it to quench their thirst. Poor fellows! While the men are cooking supper for us, let us go to the sledge and take out sixteen fish for the dogs. They must have two each, as they only have this one meal a day. The fish are frozen solid, and will have to be laid by the fire a long time to thaw. You will become so fond of the dogs before we reach Churchill, and they will fully repay any kindness you may show them. Go down, Carlo, and you too, Boxer. You know the fish are not ready for you yet. Many anecdotes are told of the dogs in England, and I could tell you, Teddy, some good ones of the dogs in this country also, but the men say that supper is ready, and we are all quite ready for it. Pemmican and tea, you see, just the same as for dinner, but the camp is much warmer and better, [39/40] for we have taken a great deal more trouble with it. Hunger is good sauce, and I am delighted to see that you are getting on so well. How your dear mamma would like to have a peep at you and all of us just now. You will have lots to tell her and all your companions when you return home.
There, the men have finished, so let us again thank God for His goodness, and ask Him to supply the wants of all His creatures. The men will like now to smoke their pipes for a little, so while they do that we will feed the dogs, change our shots, and put things ready for night. The fish are now thawed, so that the dogs can have them; see how they all jump up the moment we touch the fish. The rogues know very well what we are doing, and show their readiness for their supper. We will give them one fish each first, and when they have done that the other. They only have this one meal a day, so it is quite right that they should have two fish each. You will become so fond of them, and so will they of you, if you feed them once or twice. How cold it is when we move from the fire! But there is no wind; we shall not, therefore, have a smoky camp. I would rather have it a little colder and clear than warmer and be choked with smoke. The men are ready for prayers, for they have taken off their caps, and are combing their hair. They always do this, and I think it nice of them to do so. We will first sing a hymn, then a few verses of God's holy Word, and then kneel down to ask Him to take us into His kind care and keeping for the night. It will be very odd for you to sleep out in the open air, and during a night so cold as this; but don't be afraid, no harm will come to you. We have a good robe and blanket to sleep upon, and another to cover us. You must not undress, nor even take off your cap and mittens. Cover up your face with the blanket, and don't disturb the clothes during the night, nor open any holes for the cold to come in to you. Jack Frost is a sad fellow, and will creep in to you if he can find a tiny hole anywhere. Should you feel him coming in call to me, and I will wrap you up better, and Joseph will put some more wood on the fire. Now good night. I shall sleep on this side and the Indians on the other. The dogs, too, will soon be with us, and curl themselves at our feet.
"Wuniskuh, wuniskuh!" Arise, arise! Teddy, the men are calling, so we must get up. What, so soon? Yes, we have really had a long night, and the fact of your having slept so well shows that you have been all right. It is not very light yet, but there is a good deal to do before we can go. The Indians have been up some time. They have a good fire, and, see, the kettle is boiling. What good fellows they are! They have been up ever so many times in the night to put wood on the fire, only you did not hear them. But you see the large heap that was lying on that side when we went to bed is now gone. That is one reason why we have slept so well, and your first night in the snow has not hurt you. I hope all the nights may be as good as this has been. You will feel very cold at first getting up, so put this blanket over your shoulders. Breakfast will soon be ready, so we will have prayers at once. How nicely the men sing! They love their hymns very much, and would not like to be without their books. No, you must not think of washing your hands and face. It is not nice to have breakfast without it, but you must. The less you wash your face on a trip the better. The best way is to rub a little melted fat on it; I often do so on mine, and know that the plan is a good one. The daylight is here now, so the men will start soon. While they are packing the [40/41] sledge we will put the robes into the cariole. But I think you had better walk for an hour or two this morning, it will be very cold and dreary for you to ride so long. We are just coming to a long, narrow plain, with woods on either side, so that we can't go wrong. I will therefore walk on with you until the men overtake us.
W. W. KIRKBY.
 SO we went on, day by day, over rivers, lakes, swamps, and plains. In the afternoon of our eighth day the guide said, "Do you see that large fringe of woods before us? Those grow on the bank of the Churchill River, and from there we shall see the Fort." How glad we shall be to be there! The men have had their faces frozen a little, but I am glad that we are all right, and there is no danger now. In the woods fires can be always made and shelter found. But here we are at the woods; we shall soon be through. There is the river; does it not look a grand one? But it is not so. It is five miles cross, but it is shallow, and not at all a nice river for boats. Do you see the Fort? No, nor could I for some time. But run your eye along the bank on the other side, and you will see a black sort of patch larger than others, that is it. As we get nearer we shall see it better. There, now you see it! There [51/52] are only a few little wooden houses, and the store for goods and furs, surrounded by a stockade, and outside you see a large building, that is the blubber-house,--for a good many Eskimos come here to trade their oil and blubber. The people are coming out now to see us. See, there is Mr. and Mrs. Spencer! we must, shake hands with them first. They are dear, good friends, and will make us very happy during our stay here. And, better than that, they have been teaching the people ever since I was here last. Mrs. Spencer has a school for the children, and Mr. S. has service in the dear little church every Sunday. They are quite like Missionaries. Is not that nice of them? Mr. Fortescue, you know, told us before we left York, that he should do the same there until my return. Now we must shake hands with the people. See, there are both Indians and Eskimos here, standing against that little house, so we will shake hands with them now. They will like that very much. How pleased they are to see us! You don't understand what they say, but they are telling each other how glad they are, and the men there are asking the guide what sort of a trip we have had, and whether you have been a good traveller. But we must go in now, and have a good wash, and change our clothes. Mrs. Spencer has tea ready for us. Mr. S. will look after our men and dogs, so that all will be happy to-night. There is just one thing wanting to make me quite so. If we could send word back to the dear ones at York and England that we were here all safe and well, I should be quite content. But this we cannot do; and during the four months we stay here it will be all the same. They will therefore, have to trust and wait for good tidings of us. How we shall enjoy the house to-night! After tea all will come in for prayers, as I know they will be glad to hear again the glad tidings of a Saviour's love that we have brought to them.
How nice to be in a house again, and to have no thought of a camp, or of cutting wood for to-night. But the house feels hot and small after having been so long in the open air; and every one appears to speak so loud. I suppose it is our being in the room that causes it. How one's face burns and tingles; and yours looks so brown and bonny that your mamma would think you tanned by the summer's sun could she see you now. It is a good thing our eyes are well, and that we are not suffering from snow blindness. Here are Mr. and Mrs. Spencer's little children coming to shake hands with us. Come in, Bertie and Edith, and where is Annie? How much you have grown since I last saw you! We shall have lots to talk about to-morrow, and I have a few little boys' and girls' books for you; and I believe Teddy has something for you also. He will want to see all your Indian and Eskimo curiosities. Now for tea!
Look, Teddy, at those faces against the window! Why, there is one for each pane almost on that side. How odd they look; they are some Eskimos who did not see you outside, and so want to have a peep at you now. They would think it rude to open the door and come in, but they do not think it at all so to look in at the window. "Anwiluh, anwiluh!" (go, go). There, they are gone now, and we can have our tea in quietness.
How strange it is to feel that on this side pf the country we are now at the last house in the world, for there is not another between us and the North Pole! But is it not a joyous thought that at this distant place the name of Jesus is known and loved, and that-He has a people here to call Him blessed?
The bell will ring just now for evening [52/53] service, as we always have this during my visit here; and both the Indians and people of the Fort will expect it to-night, as I have hardly said anything to them. But you are tired, and had better go to bed. To-morrow you will be able to see the place and people better. Yes, I will go into your room with you first. You see Mrs. Spencer has put everything nice for us. We will read a verse or two out of God's Holy Word, and thank Him for all His goodness to us in bringing us safely here; by that time I daresay the bell will ring. There, I must say good-night, as you will be asleep when I come in again. The room feels odd to you, and the stove is strange. It will be something new for you to sleep between blankets; but we always do that here, and you will soon get used to it. So good-night, dear boy; God be with you, and with our dear ones far away.
Now, dear children, having reached Churchill, and Teddy having gone to bed, I must leave what I have to say about the place until next month. Till then, good-bye. May all blessings be yours!
W. W. KIRKBY.
 Good morning, Teddy, I hope you have had a good night's rest, and that you feel bright and strong this morning. I have had morning prayers with the Indians, and after breakfast we will go out and see this place.
It is St. George's Day, so that the Indians will be here soon with their guns. Both here and at York prizes are offered for the best shots. It is an old custom, and the people like it very much. Whites, Indians, and Eskimos, all may try their skill, the firing is at a target, and each man is allowed three shots. Last year at York the first prize was won by William Churchill, my Eskimo pupil there.
The sun is beginning to melt the snow a little, so that the ducks and geese will soon be here. Their desire to go north is so great that they come as soon as ever any water can be found. Does it not seem strange that nearly at the end of April all should be snow and ice? On May day in England the boys and girls will be busy with their flowers and [63/64] garlands, and a week of good warm sunshine with south wind would make a great change here. The snow would melt, and the ice on the river crack and start by the force of water running under it. At last it would break up with a grand crash. The breaking up of the ice is one of the great sights of this country. Often I have sat up all night to see it. At some of the Forts the people are obliged to do so, lest they and their homes should be carried away together. If the ice is stopped, the water rises at once, overflows the banks, and does a great deal of harm. At York the banks are twenty feet above the level of the river, yet in the space of an hour I saw the water rise to their top, and large masses of ice piled twenty feet above them.
But put your cap and mittens on and let us go out. The Fort is not very large, and looks but a speck in this large country. The Fort house is at the end, the servants live on that side, and on this are the church, mission house and trading-room. I took a little photograph of it not long ago, and will send one home that the boys and girls there may see what this last house in the world is really like. When I was here four years ago we had such a snowstorm in the middle of May that the Fort house was all buried in the drift, and the men had to dig us out in the morning. There are only eight or ten servants of the Company here, with their wives and children, so that if the Indians or Eskimos wished to cut them off, and take all that is at the place, they could easily do so. But they have no desire to do this, and the whites are not at all afraid of living here among them. They have ever treated the natives with kindness, and God gives them their reward. Once the Indians and Eskimos used to quarrel with each other, and many sad tales could be told of their suffering; [64/65] but they never thought of hurting their friends the whites, and now they are living in peace together. They have heard of the Gospel of Jesus, which teaches all to be kind and gentle.
I t is not a little strange that this place was visited by the very first Missionary who came to Rupert's Land. It was a visit only, but his coming caused the people to hope, and when Mr. Jones settled in Red River some of the natives went from here to live there, that they might hear the good news. And among these was an Eskimo boy, named Colin Leslie. It was a long journey of moo miles he had to make to go there; but he was not afraid. He was a bright, clever boy, much beloved by all. After leaving school he learnt the trade of a carpenter, and hoped to return here to teach others. But a sad disease coming to Red River, poor Colin fell a victim to it, and died. One day the Missionary going by his bedside, noticed that he looked sad, and asked what was causing him distress. Colin replied, "I am thinking about my poor parents, they have never heard that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; what will become of them if they never hear of Him! Oh, write and tell, them of Jesus!"
"Write yourself," said the Missionary, "for if I write they will say that it is I that speak, not you."
"I can't write," he said; "see how my hands shake."
"Why did you not write before?" the Missionary asked.
Poor Cohn in eagerness said, "I did not then think of the value of my soul; it is only since I began to feel my own need, and to pray for mercy myself, that I have become anxious about them."
Ever since then there has been more or less of light in this far-off place, and now I hope that Jesus has a little band of faithful ones here. The Indians can't stay here long at a time, and so they have wished for some one to give them books to take with them to their hunting-grounds. This, by God's help, I have done for them; and day by day, through the long cold winter, they are enabled to sing the praises of God. You will see to-night how well they can use their books, and how heartily they will join in the worship of God.
But it is nearly time for school. You had better come with me, as you will be able to tell the boys and girls of England what you saw there. Ring the bell, and I will put the books ready. Here they come, young and old together; for all who cannot yet read will come. The old sit with the young, just as if they were all the same, and none think it odd or strange. We will have a hymn first, then a short prayer for God's blessing, and then the school. You will not be able to help me, Teddy; but never mind that, sit here and see all that is going on. We shall only keep them a couple of hours or so.
There, wasn't that a nice little school? and did you notice how merry they all were over their ba, be, bi, bo's? The syllabic scheme is a grand thing for these poor Indians, and many of them will for ever bless the name of that good man who invented it for them. By it they learn to read and write in a month. Is not that a good thing, both for them and us, as we cannot keep them long together?
Come here, Dzini-ye, and shake hands with this little boy who has come from England to see you all. I am glad to hear that you can now read so nicely. Be a good little girl, and God will bless you. That poor child's history is a very sad one, Teddy, and yet is there joy in it. Her parents died when she was quite young, and left her to the care of heathen relatives, one of whom treated her [65/66] very unkindly, and it is said on one occasion struck her a severe blow on the back with a stick. From that blow she has never recovered. Her spine was injured, and she suffered dreadfully. When she could no longer walk, her cruel relatives left her behind them to live or die as best she might. For a night and a day did she lie under the rocks, where they had left her, when she was found by one of the men of the Fort, who brought her here, and has kept her ever since. The wonder is that she was not eaten up by the wolves or the dogs. Her poor back grew quite crooked, and for days after she carne to the Fort she could do nothing but lie and cry over her pain. When I came and began teaching the Indians, she heard the others sing and read, and the desire to do the same was so great in her mind that she used to crawl on her hands and knees to my house to learn. We then made a pair of crutches for her, and by the aid of them she was able to walk a little. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer showed her great kindness, and the next time I came here, found that she could begin to work a little ; and now she almost earns her own living, and can walk about without crutches or any help. She is a bright, clever little girl, and I hope will become a true disciple of Jesus.
Then did you notice that young man, deaf and dumb? He never misses either school or church, and though he cannot understand much, is ever most attentive and reverent. Should any of the others not be so, he is the first, by signs, to reprove them. When we sing and pray he will have his book, and do just as he sees the others; and it may be that in his soul he is praising God. Let us hope that some day Jesus may loose his tongue, and enable him to join with angels in their everlasting song.
W. W. KIRKBY.
THE GOSPEL ON THE RIVERS.
TEDDY, we must not call our little paper "The Gospel in the Snow" this time, I think, for the winter has all gone, and the hot summer has come. The dogs will not have a rest, and the carioles be put away for the summer. All traveling by land is over until the snow falls again. There are no roads in this part of the country, and although the Indians have to hunt, their families can only move about in canoes. The Eskimos are just the same, though their canoes are a little different. Come, I will take you to see some outside the fort. Here they are. They are made of seal-skins, stretched over a thin frame of wood, and are called "kyacks." They are decked over, and only a hole left for the man to sit in. No woman can go in these. They have a larger open one, like a boat, which is called "oomiack." It is needful for the man to have his kyack decked over, for he has to face rough seas in it, and were it open, like a boat, would soon be filled with water. The Eskimo sits in the hole, buttons his seal-skin shirt to the outer rim, and is then afraid of nothing. With his double-bladed paddle, he can go through anything. They are brave men, and do not fear a little danger. Did I tell you of Timothy Komuk, and what happened to him when out hunting seals? Holes are made through the ice, by which the seals come up to breathe; the Eskimo then tries to kill them. This was what Timothy was doing, when suddenly the ice broke up, and left him on a large floe. This was carried by the winds and tide far out to sea, and daily became smaller. For a whole month he lived in that kind of danger, and must often have had nothing toe at. At length the wind changed, and brought him safe to [76/77] land. Had Timothy's little kyack been with him, he would not have remained for a month upon that piece of ice. It was a good thing Timothy knew how to pray; and we may be quite sure that he asked God day by day to bring him safe to land.
Now we will go and look at the Indian canoes. You see they are not at all like the Eskimo ones, and are made of bark. They will hold .from one to twelve persons, according to their size. I don't know what the Indians would do without their canoes, as their very lives seem to depend upon them. How kind and loving, then, it is of our Heavenly Father to put the trees from which the canoes are made all over the country, for the use of these poor ignorant children of His. But the canoe is useful to other people, as well as to the Indians. The fur-traders use it in sending their letters from one side of the country to another. The Missionaries also use it in carrying the good tidings of salvation to the tribes who live beyond them. It was in a little canoe, called "The Herald," that I went within the Arctic circle to preach the Gospel to the Indians there. It was a long, trying journey, but God watched over me for good, and I thank Him very much for taking me there.
It was in a little canoe, just like "The Herald," that I found my way to Trout Lake, the first time any Missionary had ever been there. It was a strange journey, so that I will tell you a little about it. No one had made it before, and no one knew it all through. Some of the Indians from York had been to a lake more than half-way there, and the Trout Lake Indians knew the way beyond that lake. As soon, then, as the rivers were clear of ice, I set off in my canoe, paddled by the two men who had seen the half-way lake some years before, but who had not seen it since. We took food for fifteen days, a net; and a gun. My canoe was 14 ft. long, and 21 ft. wide in the middle where I sat, so that we had not much room in it. But we wished it to be as light as possible, on account of the many portages we should be sure to meet with. After a good many days of hard work, we came to the lake, where we hoped to find the Indians who could show us the other part of the way; but they were gone, not one could be found. We paddled round the lake, which was fully thirty miles long, but could find no one. Our net had been carried away by the river, we had lost our gun-caps, and had only food enough left for three days. To go back to York was impossible, and to attempt going on any farther equally so. Large rapids were before us, but we dare not ascend them for fear of wasting time and food. On paddling round the eastern side of the lake we saw a river going out of it, and feeling sure that would lead us to the sea, we followed its course, and after paddling nearly two whole days and a night, we met two Indians in a canoe coming up the river. You may imagine how glad we were; our food was just about finished, and we did not know where more could be had. But now our wants were supplied; the Indians gave us some meat, and told us that we were within fifty miles of Severn. This was not at all where we wished to go, but we were glad enough to reach there. After a few days' rest we took a guide, and ascended the rivers again to Trout Lake. This we reached after a fresh journey of twelve days.
One day I took a little photograph of our encampment. The tent is pitched, the canoe lies in front of it; one man is cutting wood for the fire, and the other is seated on the canoe preparing his gun for a shot at some ducks that are near. I hope he got them, for they are very useful on a journey
And now, Teddy, my boy, I think it is time [77/78] for us to go in. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer will be waiting for us. How kind they have been all the time we have spent with them! How quickly the month ahs gone, and how much you have seen of both Indians and Eskimos! Hark!--what is that? I do believe it is the ship's guns. It is. Look! the flag is going up, and the people are all running upon the rocks to see it! Mr. Spencer will see it first with his glass. It is the ship. Well, it will not stay here long, as it has but few things to put out. You must therefore get ready to go. How nice for you to go back to England. What will your dear mother say? Here, take these Indian and Eskimo curiosities to her as a small present from me. She will like to see the snow-shoes, also the bead and silk-worked bags. And, Teddy, tell out to all the boys and girls in your school what you have seen here. Ask them all, day by day, to pray that God may send out His light and truth to this and every dark place in the world. Tell them also not to forget their Missionary-boxes. Some day, perhaps, I may see them and speak to them myself. I do so like juvenile meetings. And if I do come, tell them that I shall expect their boxes all to be full. Now shake hands with all. Good-bye, dear boy. Thank you so much for coming. May God bless you, and take you home in safety! We shall think of you very often, and hope you will do the same for us. With love to everybody, yours sincerely,
W. W. KIRKBY.